Last Updated on 17 August 2023
The Personal Craziness Index (PCI) is a tool created by Dr Patrick Carnes to help people in recovery from addiction detect escalating risk for slips or relapse. It is based on the two assumptions that:
- Craziness first appears in routine, simple behaviors that support lifestyle balance.
- Behavioral signs will occur in patterns involving different parts of our lives.
The PCI consists of 12 dimensions of life, each with three indicators of how a person in recovery would behave when they are in balance. The dimensions are:
- Physical health
- Social life
- Family & significant others
- Spiritual life & personal reflection
- Other compulsive and symptomatic disorders
To create their own PCI, people in recovery identify the four-five most significant indicators for each dimension of their life. They then track their PCI daily, noting how they are doing in each dimension. If they notice that their PCI is increasing, it is a sign that they may be at risk for a slip or relapse. The PCI can be a helpful tool for people in recovery to stay on track and prevent relapse. It can also be used by people who are not in recovery to monitor their overall well-being and identify areas where they may need to make changes. Here are some examples of indicators that could be used for the PCI:
- Physical health: Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly
- Transportation: Arriving to appointments on time, keeping up with car maintenance
- Environment: Keeping a clean and organised living space, avoiding chaotic or stressful environments
- Work: Meeting deadlines, handling stress effectively, taking breaks when needed
- Interests: Engaging in hobbies and activities that are enjoyable, taking time for relaxation
- Social life: Spending time with friends and family, maintaining healthy relationships
- Family & significant others: Communicating effectively, resolving conflict peacefully
- Finances: Managing money wisely, avoiding debt, not gambling, giving to charity
- Spiritual life & personal reflection: Practicing mindfulness, spending time in nature, journaling
- Other compulsive and symptomatic disorders: Avoiding addictive behaviours, seeking professional help as needed
- Leisure: Taking time for fun and recreation, avoiding excessive screen time
- Sex: Engaging in safe and healthy sexual practices, communicating with partners about needs and desires
- Intimacy: Building close and supportive relationships, expressing emotions
The PCI is a flexible tool that can be customised to meet the individual needs of each person.
It is important to remember that the PCI is not a diagnostic tool.
It is simply a way to track your progress and identify areas where you may need to make changes.
If you are concerned about your mental health or addiction, please seek professional help.
Once you have your own PCI, keep a daily diary noting how intense each of the items on your PCI occur (using a scale of 0-10 – where 0 indicates that it did not occur, through to 10 which indicates it was completely unmanageable.)
Keep doing this over the course of a month or longer, while also noting in your diary or journal what else was happening each day, how you were feeling, what connections / outreach calls, meetings, and top lines you undertook, etc. There are also apps that can help you keep track of these elements.